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Burnside Project's Richard Jankovich takes a whack at our POINTLESS QUESTIONS

burnside project
Burnside Project (photo: Charlie Gross)

Read Splendid's review of Burnside Project (we just discovered that our review of The networks, the circuits, the streams, the harmonies never ran, so watch for it shortly), visit the Burnside Project website or buy Burnside Project stuff at Insound.

Right now, with no advance notice, and for reasons we're not going to bother explaining, you must get rid of one album from your record collection. Which title gets the chop?

Richard Jankovich: Well, I have a lot of records in my collection and most of them are completely inessential, so how about T.a.T.u., my official guilty pleasure?

You wake up one morning and discover that you've grown two feet taller overnight. How does it affect your life?

Richard Jankovich: I no longer have to climb for coconuts, which, believe me, would save a lot of time.

What three things must a town or city have in order for you to be able to live happily there?

Richard Jankovich: Syrup, syrup, syrup.

What's more important: good music or good food? And why?

Richard Jankovich: Without a doubt, both fail when compared to Good Times, the influential television program from our youth.

Would you rather be anal probed by aliens or have a root canal without anaesthetics? Explain your choice.

Richard Jankovich: Root canal. I am not a fan of things in my bottom, regardless of the context of such an endeavor.

Why does the wheel in the sky keep on turning?

Richard Jankovich: Steve Perry wished it so.

You've just been elected to the US senate (if you're not a US citizen, please either pretend you are or move forward on the assumption that you've taken a similar government-type position in your own country). What's on your agenda legislation-wise?

Richard Jankovich: First and foremost, I would retire. Politics is not for everyone.

If the moon were made of cheese, what kind of cheese would it be made of? Please explain your reasoning.

Richard Jankovich: Most likely, it would be made of hair metal glam rock from the 1980s and I think the reasoning is pretty self explanatory.

You've just won a contest in which the prize is your "dream car". What make and model of car do you choose? (And no, you can't just take the money.)

Richard Jankovich: I would choose a Fiat cuz Italian cars are the shiznit, baby.

You can go back in time and kill one person without disrupting the space/time continuum, creating a paradox and causing the universe to collapse upon itself. Who would it be?

Richard Jankovich: The real answer would be, I guess, the person who inflicted the most damage on the world as we know it. That would be the guy who wrote and/or directed Howard the Duck. Our world has never been the same since that cinematic milestone changed the course of history.

As an experiment, you spend an entire day with a stick of butter duct-taped to your forehead. What do you learn?

Richard Jankovich: Duct tape does not hold butter to your forehead. Seriously, trust me on this one.

What's the best way to spend a rainy day?

Richard Jankovich: Watering the lawn.

What is the coolest animal to watch a nature show about?

Richard Jankovich: Cats.

What do you do now, as a result of widespread internet access, that you didn't do ten years ago?

Richard Jankovich: Watch Homestarrunner.

Who did you last give flowers and why?

Richard Jankovich: My wife, because she pointed to them and said "Buy those... No, no, those over there. (sigh) Here...let me do it!"

The thong: instrument of social change or harbinger of dark times?

Richard Jankovich: The only reliable and true combatant in the war to conceal panty lines.

The police have just nailed you for some kind of minor infraction. What were you most likely to have been doing?

Richard Jankovich: Driving drunk whilst twirling a revolver in both hands with 15 dead bodies chopped in pieces in the trunk. That's as minor as they get for me, baby.

Would you shop at a supermarket run by ninjas? Why or why not?

Richard Jankovich: Absolutely. Ninjas have just as much a right to be patronized by myself as do the guerilla stormtroopers who just opened the deli on my corner.

What article (or articles) of clothing do you wish you never had to wear again? Why?

Richard Jankovich: I wish I never had to wear diapers again.

Taking into account all current political, social and economic situations, which country would you most like to be and why?

Richard Jankovich: THE U S OF A, BABY! LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT! Either that or France or England or anywhere in Europe, really. America is okay, but... Europe seems more exciting, and they certainly have the market cornered on European music and other European stuff.

Tell us about your weirdest experience with a fan.

Richard Jankovich: After a recent performance, a group of patrons bought some copies of our record. That was pretty messed up.

When was the last time you had an entire day to yourself, and what did you do with it?

Richard Jankovich: I went rollerblading in a park and got a concussion. Thanks for asking...jerk.

Ever written a letter to the editor? What publication, and on what subject?

Richard Jankovich: I once wrote a letter to the Wisconsin State Journal extolling the values of the import/export business when I was 13. My parents were very proud. I was a bit confused.

What's the stupidest thing you've ever done while drunk? If you're a non-drinker, please limit your self-righteous response to 25 words.

Richard Jankovich: (sigh).

What's your favorite thing to do when you can't sleep?

Richard Jankovich: Punch myself in the abdomen until I vomit -- that makes me very sleepy.

What are your fellow band members' most irritating habits? If you have no fellow band members, what are your own most irritating habits?

Richard Jankovich: Paul (keyboardist for Burnside Project) has this irritating habit of self flagellating during the most inopportune times. On stage, during practice. I turn around for one second and he is beating himself into submission. What the hell, right? Gerald (guitarist For Burnside Project) -- really, there is not enough space to go into the kind of detail I would like but, suffice it to say, damn near everything he does.

You're making a guest appearance as yourself in the TV show of your choice. What's the show, and how do you fit into the plot?

Richard Jankovich: 6 Feet Under and I guess I'd be the dead guy.

In three sentences or less, please give your opinion on the current state of the world.

Richard Jankovich: Howard the Duck realized.

A national guardsman from Ohio recently changed his name to Optimus Prime, after the Transformer. If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?

Richard Jankovich: Megatron, because I hate that guy from Ohio.

We're considering lobbying the government to pass a law banning the use of certain overplayed words -- for example, "new", "flaming" and "electric" -- in band names. What other words should be banned?

Richard Jankovich: Definitely "Burnside" and "Project".

Would you rather tour the world for a year, living out of hotels and minibuses, playing to sellout crowds but estranged from all meaningful interpersonal contact, or be crowned the next indie god(s) but be damned to a lifetime of college radio airplay, widespread obscurity and eventual golden years filled with soundtrack work?

Richard Jankovich: Yes.

What's the most un-rock and roll hobby or interest you have?

Richard Jankovich: Watching my cats.

What's the stupidest thing a reviewer ever said about you or your band?

Richard Jankovich: Read the entire Pitchfork review.

Some of us have side gigs bartending. Help us out by making up a drink that we can name after you and sell to underaged girls in midriff tee-shirts.

Richard Jankovich: The Burnside Richard: Two parts soy milk, one part Kahlua and one part whiskey.

Which is a better reason for an R rating -- pointless, arbitrary violence or over-the-top kinky sex that has nothing to do with the story?

Richard Jankovich: What can I say, I like big butts and I can not lie. You other brothers can't deny.

Which would be worse -- going three rounds with Mike Tyson, or having sex with Anna Nicole Smith?

Richard Jankovich: See previous answer.

What's in your fridge right now?

Richard Jankovich: Tofutti products...

What advice would you give to Michael Jackson?

Richard Jankovich: Seriously, give me back my $20, man. That's just pathetic.

· · · · · · ·

The networks, the circuits, the streams, the harmonies is the Burnside Project’s recording debut as a flesh-and-blood band, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Now that '80s-influenced dance music has become the cutting-edge sound of the moment, Richard Jankovich and fellow multi-instrumentalist Gerald Hammill, who are joined on stage by keyboardist Paul Searing, have reshaped some of those vintage beats for their own disquieting purposes. "Cut and pasted and recut and refucked with" is how one critic put it. But they’ve ditched the overarching irony, the tongue-in-cheek/deadpan-chic attitude of the "electro" scene for a collection of midnight confessions from a dark corner of the dance floor. The Burnside album is almost cinematic in scope, or at least indie-cinematic, evoking the kind of skittering drum-n-bass rhythms that jacked up the tension in Darren Aronofsky’s Pi.

-- George Zahora

Splendid is always looking for artists and bands who can answer our Pointless Questions quickly and cleverly. We mostly do them by e-mail, so they're quick and painless...unless you can't type. E-mail us for more information!



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